Head of the German Parliament Norbert Lammert canceled a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi scheduled for early June due to concerns regarding “the human rights situation in Egypt,” German newspaper Der Spiegel reported on Tuesday.
Lammert reportedly sent a letter to the Egyptian Ambassador in Berlin justifying rescinding Sisi’s invitation. In a statement issued by the German Parliament on Tuesday, Lammert criticized the current political situation in Egypt.
“Instead of holding the long-awaited parliamentary elections, we have been witnessing months of systematic prosecution of opposition groups, mass arrests, convictions to lengthy prison terms and issuing a shocking number of death sentences, including against former head of the Egyptian Parliament Saad al-Katatny,” he clarified.
Lammert’s statement emphasized that “since no efforts seem to have been made toward maintaining the peace in Egypt or towards democratic development,” he “sees no basis for a conversation with the Egyptian president.”
In response, Egypt’s Ambassador to Germany Mohamed Hegazy told privately owned newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm that the Egyptian side had not “requested” nor was it “looking forward to meeting with the head of the German Parliament.”
“The meeting was added to the trip’s itinerary by the German side,” Hegazy added.
According to Der Spiegel, the German Federal Press Office has yet to comment on whether Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with Sisi in light of recent developments.
Lammert’s decision is one of many reactions triggered by Saturday’s court decision sentencing Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood figures to death.
On Sunday, a US State Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Guardian that the US is “deeply concerned by yet another mass death sentence handed down by an Egyptian court to more than 100 defendants, including former President Morsi.”
The European Union also criticized the court’s decision, adding that the “cruel and inhumane” penalty “stemmed from a flawed trial.”